Your newsroom, on Sunday, April 4, started a campaign to highlight each day the nation's murder toll on the front page of your newspaper. Then, 417 people were killed in 93 days.
By 127 days into the year, this number jumped to 574.
We did this to dramatically bring to the fore the magnitude of our crime problem, to stimulate public debate, and to reinforce the very urgent need for the society to develop workable measures to tackle this deadly scourge.
Scores of readers from across Jamaica and the diaspora have commented on our campaign. Some have been strongly for it, while others have been strongly against it. We thank you for taking the time to write and to call your newsroom. We value your contributions.
We have come to the end of this phase of our campaign. We are about to embark on another phase. We need you to play an active role, as we must find solutions to widespread criminality in this nation. We cannot and must not give up.
It is a national disgrace that in under five months we have murdered close to 600 people, leaving hundreds of families, friends, as well as scores of communities, in mourning. We cannot continue like this. We cannot grow socially, economically and politically as a nation with this wanton slaughter of innocent people.
Everyone from every community across this country must join the coalition against criminality in this country. This is not a job for the Government only. This is not a job for the Opposition only. Let us take politics out of crime fighting. There are too many people in mourning today.
This is not a job for only the security forces either. But there must be a leader. Prime Minister Bruce Golding and his team must lead. We must demand this leadership! They were elected to provide this leadership.
Golding and his Cabinet must provide the resources and support to allow the police to fight criminal gangs and capture their leaders. The police have said the majority of the killings in this murderous country are caused by gangs. We must stop them. Law-abiding Jamaicans are tired of their daily mayhem.
We have repeatedly said that both Prime Minister Golding and Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller have done little to purge the apparent links that politicians have with gangs and criminals. It is time for these leaders to demonstrate a clear intolerance for mingling among Government, Opposition and/or party officials who facilitate or encourage criminality in the Jamaican society. Let us demand action from our leaders now! It cannot and should not be business as usual. There's too much blood on the land.
- Garfield Grandison, editor-in-chief firstname.lastname@example.org